Most Watched TV Shows of 2020


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With the pandemic causing people’s outside plans to come to a screeching halt, this past year was filled with more free time than most people knew how to handle. In a hope to slow the spread of COVID-19, most people were spending all of their time at home and subsequently bingeing shows on every platform. Cinema has been bringing individuals together with shared experiences for decades, and this last year was no exception. Old classics and new thrillers seemed to be circulating around every corner, allowing for great conversation starters and common interests for the beginnings of interesting relationships. So what was being watched and talked about the most? 

According to a study done among the most popular streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus; it was found that the classic comedy “The Office” was the most streamed show of 2020 with around 952 million hours streamed on Netflix. Second place was the popular “Grey’s Anatomy” with 650 million hours and “Criminal Minds” coming in close third with 539 million. So it may be safe to say that many people were seeking comfort in their TV classics this year.

Although many of the popularly streamed shows were obtained classics (aka shows gathered by streaming platforms from classic TV) such as “The Office,” many original series on streaming services became smash hits as well. The most popular of these, with 508 million hours, was the 2017 crime drama series “Ozark.” And an honorary mention has to be the intriguing addition to the Star Wars universe “The Mandalorian” with 242 million hours streamed. 

The enormous popularity of shows like these allowed innumerable conversations and communities to spark up all over social media.  People became attached to their favorite characters consequently sparking popularity in fan accounts across just about every platform. Friendly debates about show content and characters were started between individuals who otherwise may have never spoken. And not to mention, it is nearly impossible to ignore the countless popular trends started by these shows and shared by millions of people across the globe. TV managed to keep millions of people together even when they were the most separated.

Now, looking at the stats and numbers may be interesting, but what do some avid show watchers from Bingham High School have to say on the matter? Current senior Jessika Cole spends much of her free-time watching an array of shows, trying to find the best ones the media has to offer. Cole’s personal most watched shows this year included the smash-hit comedies “Community” and “New Girl.” When asked what show she thought other people watched the most last year, Jessika said “I heard a lot about ‘Tiger King’ during quarantine, and ‘Community’ was added on Netflix so I think it has gained a lot of popularity.” And Cole may just be right. “The Tiger King” exploded sparking numerous trends throughout social media, with 260 million streaming hours. Not to mention, the 2009 sitcom “Community” had a large resurgence in popularity around April of this year placing it in Netflix’s “Top Ten” shows list at the time. 

Another student at Bingham with great taste for entertaining shows is current senior Maleia Peoples. When asked how watching shows during quarantine affected her relationships, Peoples mentioned how they allowed her to get back into touch with old friends because of shared TV interests. She was able to rekindle relationships with some unexpected individuals through well favored shows such as “That ‘70s Show” and “The Office.” Shared interests and similar experiences of empathy through entertainment allows for a strong connection between individuals of all backgrounds, just like it was for Peoples and her relationships.

So whether your most watched show in 2020 was the number one streamed show “The Office” or the smash hit “Tiger King,” it may be safe to say that many people were having a shared experience with cinema this year. The spreading publicity of new and old shows alike allow for a sense of community as conversations, opinions, trends, and memes are shared around the world of social media. In a time where everyone has been divided physically, cinema continues to have the power to bring people together.